Det Norske Veritas (DNV) has developed a supply chain performance tool to calculate the environmental impact and energy efficiency of maritime logistics chains, with case studies suggesting the increased use of shipping can yield financial and environmental benefits for the supply chain as a whole.
Created in partnership with the Maritime Logistics Chains and the Environment project (MARLEN), the tool maps the environmental performance of a logistics chain (‘As-Is’) and evaluates the possible consequences of changes which may effect the chain as a whole (‘What-If’).
The tools were tested on Höegh Autoliners’ multimodal distribution system, where new cars are transported from the production plant to inland distribution centres. To optimise the distribution system as a whole, a model was developed to optimise the total distribution on the basis of cost only, environmental performance only, or on a weighted combination basis, altering factors such as the number of ports and their location, vessel type, sailing frequency and the use of road and rail inland. Data proved how costs and total energy consumption could be reduced when the proportion of transportation performed by ships was increased.
Another case study analysed Statoil’s logistics for transporting well and drilling equipment from suppliers to oil platforms, including logistics of returning equipment for maintenance. Among the changes tested, moving more of the transport volume from road to sea provided strong benefits.
Line Kaldestad, Logistics Manager at Statoil, said: “The results of the project improved our understanding of the supply chain from an environmental perspective and we will use them in our efforts to achieve more environmentally friendly logistics practices in future.”
The study also revealed systematic flaws in charter agreements which do not encourage commercial parties to choose the most environmentally desirable transport options. Per Holmvang, DNV Environmental Program Director, said: “As logistics operators face increasing pressure to improve their environmental performance, the risks of introducing sub-optimal solutions rises. Solutions which have a positive environmental impact on one aspect of the logistics chain may adversely affect other parts, requiring the comprehensive approach achieved through MARLEN.”
Other participants in the MARLEN project were MARINTEK, the Scandinavian Institute of Marine Law at the University of Oslo and the Wikborg Rein legal partnership.